Friday, August 1, 2014

Kyrgyzstan revives pre-Soviet traditions for climate adaptation

Sophie Yeo in Responding to Climate Change: In early April, the villagers of Samarkandek, Kyrgyzstan, react with a curious enthusiasm to the sight of apricots coming into bloom. As soon as the flowers emerge, old and young gather for the Festival of Blooming Apricots to recite poetry, sing and dance in celebration of the oncoming harvest. ...

The festival began four years ago, inaugurated by Akylbek Kasymov, founder of environmental charity Foundation Bio Muras in Kyrgyzstan. It is more than an attempt at cultural revival. Kasymov hoped that, by bringing together elders with younger generations, they would be able to pass on their old traditions, once practised by pastoral communities, but now fading fast.

The Kyrgyz people have started to realise that such skills, now all but vanished from their collective memory, could prove vital in helping them deal with the changes that climate change is set to impose on their landscape and their way of life.

...Indigenous knowledge spans an array of themes, which evolved to make nomadic life in Kyrgyzstan’s mountainous landscape more comfortable, including skills such as building and decorating a yurt, raising cattle on natural fodder, and traditional recipes such as kuurma tea. But on top of that, it also includes knowledge on how to live sustainably and deal with the vagaries of the earth and weather: skills such as grafting, planting and caring for livestock....

The Alai Mountains in Kyrgyzstan, shot by Nihongarden , Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons 3.0 license

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